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Scaremongering media reporting forces Kingfisher to issue clarifying statement on Mumbai crash – Bangalore Aviation

Scaremongering media reporting forces Kingfisher to issue clarifying statement on Mumbai crash

In the hours following the crash of Kingfisher Airlines ATR-72-500 VT-KAC at Mumbai yesterday, as usual the mainstream media went on a feeding frenzy with all kinds of speculative reports, most of which are completely inaccurate.

Kingfisher Airlines has been forced to issue a statement in an attempt to quell these wild speculations. Normally Bangalore Aviation does not reproduce complete statements from the spokespersons of any organisation, but we also have a reputation of accurate reporting of facts, not speculation and we condone any wild, speculative and scaremongering reporting.

Devesh Agarwal
Bangalore Aviation

Following a spate of inaccurate and speculative reports that have appeared in the media and which continue to be flashed on various TV channels, we would like to clarify the facutal position and set the record straight with regard to the incident involving one of our ATR aircraft at Mumbai airport yesterday evening.

  1. Considering the fact that the investigation is still on, we would normally not have issued such a detailed statement at this early stage but the wild speculation and rumour-mongering being reported on seriously by the media has constrained us to issue this clarification. It is therefore clarified that the iteration of this sequence of events and listing out of facts is in no way meant to be viewed as pointing blame in any direction or towards any agency or authority in any manner whatsoever and that we will respectfully abide by the final findings of the enquiry.
  2. Some media reports have speculated that the pilot / cockpit crew ran away from the aircraft following the incident. We categorically deny this as false and mischievous. The cockpit crew and the cabin crew all remained present till all guests had safely exited from the aircraft and performed their duties as required of them in the given situation.
  3. We learnt from media reports in sections of the press this morning that, barely minutes before our aircraft touched down, an aircraft of another airline had a landing that was not normal and took out two runway lights (according to media reports). The commander of our flight did not receive any notification advising or alerting our aircraft of any special conditions prevailing on the runway at that time and which may have potentially led to the eventful landing of another aircraft barely minutes before our aircraft touched down as otherwise the commander may have elected to request for a go around and/or diversion to an alternate airfield.
  4. There have been some speculative and unconfirmed reports which suggest that ‘Kingfisher Airlines may have disregarded guidelines or flouted norms’ and so on. Kingfisher Airlines places guest safety and comfort above everything else. We categorically deny all such reports as untrue and aimed at maligning our reputation. For the record, we would like to highlight the following material points which will amply demonstrate that we are in full compliance with guidelines with regard to Tuesday closures at Mumbai Airport.
  5. Beginning Friday November 6, 2009 on various occasions Kingfisher Airlines and other airline operators at Mumbai Airport brought up concerns regarding the Tuesday closures and on at least 5 different occasions since then, all airlines were in dialogue with MIAL to discuss and address various concerns.
  6. On Monday November 9, 2009 following a verbal notification received by Kingfisher Airlines (at around 6.30pm) from the authorities that a “G’ class NOTAM had been issued, we proactively located the notification, studied the guidelines specified therein for operation of “C” class aircraft (Boeing and Airbus) and our Flight Operations department issued a circular to all pilots and concerned stakeholders specifying the precautions to be taken for Tuesday shortened runway operations at Mumbai Airport. With the issue of this circular within hours of being made aware of the “G’ class NOTAM, Kingfisher Airlines complied with the requirements specified with regard to operations of “C” class Airbus aircraft. Hence, there is no question of Kingfisher Airlines having violated any guidelines or flouted any norms.
  7. On Tuesday November 10, 2009 , Kingfisher Airlines proactively delayed a number of flights (which had not yet departed from their city of origin) including those flights that were ready for departure from Mumbai Airport.
  8. In light of the above, we would like to emphasize that:
    1. Kingfisher Airlines took immediate and proactive steps to comply with the guidelines issued by the DGCA late in the evening of Monday November 9, 2009 with regard to flight operations of Airbus type of aircraft on the shortened runway on Tuesday.
    2. The pilot of the aircraft involved in the unfortunate incident yesterday landed after receiving due clearance from the ATC at Mumbai Airport, given that the airport operator had chosen to keep the airport open.

  9. Given that a full-fledged investigation is underway by our flight safety department and given that we are working and cooperating closely with the DGCA on their parallel investigation, we would urge editorial teams not to succumb to sensationalist information from phantom based sources and we will be happy to clarify any such malicious rumours and/or speculation that may surface.

Prakash Mirpuri
Vice President – Corporate Communications
The UB Group
Hoechst House, 5th Floor
Nariman Point
Mumbai 400 021

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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